Herbs & Plants

Anemopsis californica

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Botanical Name :Anemopsis californica
Family: Saururaceae
Genus: Anemopsis
Species: A. californica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Common Names :lizard tail, Yerba Mansa, Bear Root

Habitat :Anemopsis californica is native to South-western N. America – California, Mexico.  It grows on wet, especially somewhat alkaline or saline marshy places, below 2000 metres. .

Yerba mansa  is a perennial flowering plant. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Anemopsis.  The conic white ‘flowers‘ (actually reduced inflorescences, or pseudanthia) are borne in early spring, and are surrounded by 4-9 large white bracts. As it matures, the visible part of the plant develops red stains, eventually turning bright red in the fall.
Flower Color: White bracts and yellow flowers

Flowering Season: Late spring, Summer

Height: To 18 inches (46 cm) tall

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The flower heads are yellow, cone-shaped, and surrounded by 4 to 8, unequal, 3/4-inch (2 cm) long, petal-like bracts. The leaves are green, thick and leathery, oblong in shape, and mainly basal. This plant forms large colonies.
Requires shallow water or a wet muddy site in a humus-rich alkaline medium. Requires a warm position. Plants are hardy to about -5 to -10°c, and are probably hardiest when the rootstock is submerged. Another report says that they are hardy to about -15°c.

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stand the pots in about 3cm of water and germination should take place in about 5 weeks. Sow stored seed in a cold frame in the spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. making sure you keep the compost wet. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring.

Edible Uses: The seeds are edible if ground into meal.

Medicinal Uses:
Yerba Mansa is considered by herbalists  to have many properties similar to Goldenseal though it is not related botanically or chemically  It is used for slowly healing boggy conditions of the mouth, intestinal and urinary tracts and lungs.  It is astringent to the connective tissues that form the membrane structure, but it stimulates better fluid transport, helping to remove the exudates that prevent repair of the irritation that began the whole mess.  Mouth, gum and throat sores are helped by the herb, as are ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.  Use ¼  teaspoon of either tincture in water, a standard infusion, 2-3 oz or 2 #00 capsules, 2-3 times a day.  It is also used for bleeding gums and herpes simplex.  As a diuretic, yerba mansa stimulates the excretion of nitrogenous acids, especially uric acid, which can aid many types of joint problems.  It is also substantially aspirin-like in its anti-inflammatory effects.  Drink as a tea for arthritis…1/2 cup up to 5 times a day.  It is antibacterial and antifungal, so it affords a fine external first aid or dressing for abrasions or contusions.  A sitz bath for bartholin gland cysts and perianal fissures or  boils usually  brings quick healing.   Use 1 teaspoon of the tincture per quart of water, or a 1:64 decoction of the powdered root.  The powdered root is an impeccable dust when mixed with four parts of a soothing starch for diaper rash and chafing.  The leaves, although much feebler and chemically simpler, make a fine bath for general pain of the muscles and joints.  A water percolation (1:10) with 20% glycerine and 10% alcohol added when finished, is an excellent nasal spray for hay fever, lingering head cold, or the results of cocaine or snuff abuse.  Used by itself (powdered root) or combined with Cypress and Chaparral, it’s an excellent for athlete’s foot.

You may click to see more medicinal Uses:

Other Uses:
*Dried floral structures are used in dried arrangements.
*Dried plant parts, (leaves, floral structure) emit a spicy fragrance and are used in potpourri.

*In the deserts of California yerba mansa is being used as turf in public parks and ground cover in gardens.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


Anemopsis californica – Yerba Mansa

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